Intellectual property disputes

Copyright Lawyers

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Copyright protects original material from being copied, which is essential if you want to commercialise your creations or defend them against infringement. We help businesses protect and enforce their copyright. Our copyright lawyers can also help if you have been accused of copying or sharing work that belongs to someone else.

How do you copyright work in the UK?

Unlike a patent or a trademark, you cannot register copyright in the UK. Rather, copyright protection will arise automatically as soon as your work is created. Copyright protection generally expires 70 years after the death of the creator, although shorter periods apply to certain broadcast work.

Copyright laws protect work that is original (does not replicate or imitate someone else’s work) and tangible (exists in physical form and is not merely an idea). Works subject to copyright typically include:

  • Literary, dramatic, musical and artistic work
  • Illustration and photography
  • Software, web content and databases
  • Sound and music recordings
  • Film and television recordings
  • Broadcasts

What happens if someone infringes my copyright?

Copyright protection allows you to control the use that others can make of the work. This means that using the work without the owner’s permission can amount to copyright infringement, which is a civil offence.

Video games, music and software are common objects of piracy, which can also amount to a criminal offence if certain conditions are met.

Since there is no register of protected works, it can be very difficult for someone to know if a work is subject to copyright. However, the law helps the copyright owner by presuming that the work has been copied if two similar versions exist. The burden will be on the defendant to show that their work is original.

If in doubt, the safest option is to assume that a work is protected and not copy it without permission.

Why choose Collyer Bristow as your copyright lawyer?

As a full-service team, our copyright lawyers can help you:

  • Determine who owns copyright and whether the rights are legally enforceable
  • Register copyright in jurisdictions outside the UK where this is possible
  • Licence, franchise or sell your copyright safely
  • Enforce your rights if your copyright has been infringed
  • Defend you if a copyright owner claims that you have infringed their rights

Since copyright is not registered in the UK, infringement cases can be especially challenging. We have a strong record of success in this complex area, bringing a large amount of commercial experience to the table. Our copyright lawyers can help you commercialise your copyright, while shutting down problems before they cost you serious money.

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